Digest>Archives> October 2008

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


History Destroyed Again

I have often been criticized when I have said, quite often, over the years, "For the most part local and state governments are the worst stewards for historic properties." However, that statement rings true again with the loss of the old Coast Guard station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The federal government turned over ownership of the station in 1987 to Milwaukee County. For the next 20 years the county government had ownership of the station that stood near the McKinley Marina, and regardless of what anyone says, they did not make a concerned effort to save the structure, which was demolished this past spring. The fact that the 1916 structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places did not offer the historic building any protection. Now, another slice of American history has been lost, thanks, in part, to inept politicians. If any of our readers have photographs of the station, life at the station or memories of being stationed there, we'd love to hear from you.

Ft. Gratiot Closed - Tours Remained Open

Although the Coast Guard, for safety reasons, closed Michigan's Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, the 1829 tower remained opened for viewing. Climbs to the top were stopped this past August because of falling debris and concerns over the stairway. However, "Lighthouse Bob," was still on hand to recount the history of the tower while the public was allowed inside to peer up into the tower.

Success At Round Island

The U.S. Forestry Service in St. Ignace Michigan and the Freeland Boy Scout Troop #323 welcomed approximately 100 visitors to their 2008 Open House at Michigan's Round Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac. More can be found on their web site at http://roundislandlight.clubspaces.com.

Honors At Charlotte Genesee Light

Fred Amato has been honored by New York's Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Society with the historical society's 2008 Dunn Volunteer of the Year Award. Amato has been a member of the lighthouse group for three years and served as its president for the past year. Through his efforts the group has developed a web site and increased visitors to the lighthouse. Congradulations Fred.

Buoy Bells Missing

The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that a number of buoy bells and their gongs have been stolen. "It's possible that they are being stolen to sell to nautical novelty shops or for scrap metal," said a Coast Guard spokesperson. Whatever the case, it will cost the American taxpayers money to replace them and it is a dangerous precedent that could cost lives. Hopefully the culprits will be caught and punished appropriately.

Repairs Needed At Heceta

Officials state that Oregon's historic Heceta Head Lighthouse has suffered from years corrosion on the steel that supports the lantern and spiral staircase inside the lighthouse. They are estimating repairs will cost over one million dollars.

National Lighthouse Museum Questioned

It seems that a local politician running for office in a borough of New York wants to know what happened to the money that was promised for the National Lighthouse Museum that was planned for Staten Island. We've been wondering the same thing for a number of years.

New Lighthouse Coin Available

A new lighthouse coin commemorating the 2009 New York State Quadricentennial featuring the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse on one side and Henry Hudson's vessel Half Moon on the other side is now available. Proceeds from the sale of the coin, which comes in a Rosewood display case, will benefit the ongoing restoration of the lighthouse. One can be yours for only $30, which includes postage from the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society, P.O. Box 145, Athens, New York 12015.

Memories of Winter Harbor Lighthouse

Bill Holden has begun work on a book about the ten years he spent at Maine's Winter Harbor Lighthouse on Mark Island. He hopes to have the book ready for publishing in about a year. During the time he was there, in addition to keeping a diary, he took more than 1000 photographs and produced over 150 paintings, sketches and diagrams. If you'd like to keep up with his work in progress you can visit his web site at www.ieyetouch.com. It's well worth the visit.

National Trust Grant For Plum & Pilot Islands Group

Wisconsin's Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, Inc. has been awarded an $8,500.00 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Jeffris Family Endowed Preservation Fund to help support the performance of a conditions assessment and stabilization study of existing structures on Plum and Pilot Islands in the Death Door passage off the tip of the Door Peninsula in Lake Michigan. Plum and Pilot Islands are now part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge and are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To learn more about the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, visit their Web site at www.plumandpilot.org.

This story appeared in the October 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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